Tag Archives: Diverbo

#cookfromthebooks week 10 – Reunions & french fayre.


A fabulously hectic week, of friends and frolics has left me literally unable to speak…my jaw has gone into painful spasm, maybe the price I’m paying for eating,drinking, laughing and singing too much 😉 So I’m now on soft food and alcohol free tipples, best recover soon.

A few months back I volunteered on a language immersion course by Diverbo, to assit Spanish teachers in their quest to improve their English language skills, us volunteers were known as the ‘Anglos’. This week the Anglos of Southern Spain ( Malaga, Almeria, Murcia and Marbella) had a reunion, we re-grouped for a fabulous evening of wining and dining, laughter and merriment.  One of the gentleman known as ‘The Baron’ lives not too far from me at La Rosilla, so were pooled culinary skills and created a menu of french delicacies for our new friends.

Steak Tartare

Smoked salmon, avocado & goats cheese terrine

Coq au vin

Gratin dauphinois

Garlic braised spring greens

Tarte au citron & pot au chocolat

melting camemberts

Cafe and cognac

Some of our diners we knew may be a little unsure about steak tartare, so we held back from describing it’s origins or naming the dish, until after they’d tasted it, naughty I know, but we were able to convince most of them and they agreed, they wouldn’t have tried if they’d known, just proving many people pre-decide before trying 😉

For my #cookfromthebooks challenge this week, my sweet treats of Tarte au Citron & pot au chocolat, were taken by the simple and clearly written book ‘FRENCH’ by Raymond Blanc, published by M & S. The book  was originally published in 2003 as ‘Foolproof french cookery’

Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir

I have very fond memories of my visits to Le Manoir aux quat’saisons in Oxfordshire when I lived in England, reserved for very special treats, a place from the moment you arrived you feel clam, looked after and you know you are going to have an unforgettable experience.  Dining, gardens, accommodation, all faultlessly designed.  Unpretentious and impeccable  service, makes every one feel special and welcome.

My little pots of chocolate I adapted slightly and here is my recipe, rich, decadent and perfect for the chocoholics out there.


Makes 8 little pots or glasses.

300 g of dark choc, broken up

250 ml double cream

75 g of butter

good glug of cognac

  • Put all the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water stir gently, until melted.
  • Pour into shot glasses or espresso cups.
  • Chill until ready to serve.


Our reunion was a great success, all different characters from all walks of life, coming together to re-confirm our new friendships.

Now for me, I’m off to make soup that I can sip through a straw, and hope my jaws gets back to full waggle soon 😉


If you would like to join in this years challenge of #cookfromthebooks I would be delighted :) Just add the hashtag #cookfromthebooks and add the logo below & link to this site.

#cookfromthebooks cooking challenge 2014

Talk non-stop, ‘No problema’


One thing I’m known for is having a great deal to say , so when I saw an advertisement for English speaking folk were wanted to share their language, knowledge & traditions with a group of Spanish teachers wanting to improve their English for their students, I thought, this is me, this is my turn to give a little back .

I applied to DIVERBO , a company based in Madrid that organises immersion language courses and thought no more of it.  A couple of weeks later I was ‘IN’ and planning for my trip commenced.  Now those with family, animals and businesses will know that taking a week out, calls for some military operation tactics, extreme organisational skills and then at the 11th hour a ‘oh what the hell’ approach.  So timetables and to do lists were prepared for the family, bags packed with plenty of warm clothes, I was swapping one mountain view for another albeit much higher up and much colder.

I was quite anxious, not knowing really what to expect, but prior to departure the  comradery started with emails to and from volunteers, this eased my nerves. I was to meet up with another lady on her travels to share our journey up Cazorla Jaen.  Our journey flew by, I’m not sure we even drew breathe, I was in good company 😉

Stopping en-route for the must have Spanish breakfast ‘Pitufu Catalana’ and Cafe con leche, I was approached by an elderly gentleman, with map in hand, speaking in English ‘I don’t suppose you’re on your way to Pueblo Ingles ?’ and here we met the wonderful Henry, who too was on his inaugural adventure with Diverbo and at the tender age of 81, hats off to him !

The most beautiful journey was enjoyed with spectacular scenery of vast planes, snow capped mountains and forest clad hills.  Driving through the National park, Coto de Valle our lodgings came into view.  A comfy, warm hotel, peacefully situated in stunning grounds, fountains with icicles, persimmons and madrona berries, hanging like baubles and  our home for the next week.ice

We went straight to lunch, where a plentiful array of tapas and welcoming red wine awaited and for me the biggest surprise.  I was greeted by a lady who said ‘Lynsey ?’ me ‘Yes’, ‘ What was your maiden name ?’ , a tad direct I thought ‘ Spencer’ I replied ‘ Well I’m Wendy Warner’ …Speechless already and I’d only just arrived.  wendy and me

Wendy & I were great friends growing  up in our rural village in England going to Nursery, Infant & Juniors together , spending long summer holidays on our bikes, roller-blades and hanging out.  Here we were, 30 years later, in the middle of nowhere and sharing a room !!!  The fun started here 😉

Our first evening we were all introduced to each other, the brave Spanish teachers as nervous as us, the other volunteers from all corners of the globe and after a few ice breaker games , the friendships started.

The week progressed FULL ON, this is not for the introvert ! One to one discussions, group activities, theatre, games, quizzes but always TALKING non-stop talking 14-16 hours a day.  We walked and talked, climbed and talked, visited and talked, danced and talked, dined and talked !quemada

Half-way through the week, voice faltering rapidly, exceptionally tired, I do like to burn the candle at both ends, and to my delight so did many of the others, I thought NO no more, I just need to go home. My name’s Lynsey get me outta here ! But then a second wind, the end was in site, and visit to the local town of Cazorla, gave a little respite and the progress of us all was outstanding.

I am still amazed at the level of English our teachers had, their passion to learn, share and get involved.  The desire to return to their classes from Nursery schools to university level with an advanced knowledge and enthusiasm to include English language into their classes as much as possible.cazorla

During the week I was often questioning my own ability of language, I was aware of my pronunciation, my explanations and the complexity of English.

Meal times and social time were a joy, each time changing places and meeting and creating friendships with new people.  Sharing traditions, colloquialisms and all totally in English. Singing, dancing, guitar playing, some talented folks out there ! Those learning or speaking a foreign language will know that  senses of humours are very difficult to gauge, but they got it !

Last morning at Diverbo !

Last morning at Diverbo !

All in all a rewarding, sole searching, exhausting, friend making, voice losing, laughter filled, undeniable unforgettable experience.

And to all my friends from Cazorla, new and old and from all over the world, Thank-you for getting me through it and as we say Until we meet again !